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Homily for 10/30/11 - P20 - Sower and Seed

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  • Fr David Moser
    Luke 8:5-15 This parable of the sower and seed is one of the most easily understood parables on the surface, for it was explained by our Lord Jesus Christ,
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2011
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      Luke 8:5-15

      This parable of the sower and seed is one of the most easily understood
      parables on the surface, for it was explained by our Lord Jesus Christ,
      Himself. The sower, is God Himself; the seed, the Gospel; the various
      soils are the hearts of men and so on. Every where the seed falls it has
      the potential to grow and bloom and bring forth fruit, but in each place
      it faces obstacles. It is these the removal or avoidance of these
      obstacles that is the primary focus of our spiritual life. If we wish
      the seed of the Gospel to sprout in our own life, then we must prepare
      the way for it to take root and grow and thrive there.

      If you travel through the countryside, you will see a number of tactics
      used to foil the natural instinct of birds to feed on the seeds of
      plants. Fruit trees may have nets over them to keep the birds out, or
      perhaps reflective strips hung in the branches to blow in the wind and
      flash in the sun to scare them away. In a small garden, newly sown with
      seed, you might see a scarecrow or plastic owl to fool the birds into
      thinking there is a danger there they need to avoid. Where these things
      are not used, it is not uncommon to see birds gathered on the ground
      looking for seeds to eat. It is this common sight that our Lord first
      used to describe what happens when the seed of the Gospel falls on the
      soil of the heart. If it is not immediately taken in but remains exposed
      on the surface, the seed is snatched up by the demons, just as seeds
      sitting on top of the hard ground at the edges of the field or on a
      roadway are snatched up by the birds. This occurs when the soul is so
      overwhelmed by sensations that there is no place for the Gospel. We are
      constantly surrounded by a sea of sensations, conversations, sounds,
      music, pictures, colors, images, smells, tastes, and so on. And as if
      there weren’t enough naturally occurring sensations in the world, we
      also are bombarded with sensations imported into our lives through
      radio, television, computers, mp3 and cd players, movies, and the like.
      These sensations, and the thoughts and ideas that they carry or that are
      associated with them in our minds flood the soul on a moment to moment
      basis crowding out anything that isn’t as loud or demanding or that
      isn’t immediately captured and saved. I have, in my house a large clock.
      During the day, when there are constant noises around, I don’t usually
      notice it - it gets lost in the background - but at night when
      everything is quiet, the ticking is clear and loud. The sound is there
      during the day, but it is overwhelmed and lost in the cacophony of other
      noises. Only when the surrounding noises subside, does the clock come
      through. But if I listen for it during the day, there is the ticking of
      the clock, just as clear and loud as it is at night. So it is with the
      word of God. The awareness of God’s presence, the awareness of His love
      and provision, the promptings of the conscience are there all the time,
      but unless I attend to them, unless I listen to them, they are easily
      lost in the rush of other sensations and thoughts and images that wash
      around me constantly through the day, and they are lost, snatched up by
      the demons, never having had an effect on my life.

      Then there is the seed that falls among the rocks. This seed finds
      shelter and begins to sprout and grow, but it never comes to fruition
      for it has no root and therefore in the heat of the day it withers and
      dies. I remember as a child doing an experiment in elementary science
      with a glass jar, some paper towels and a bean seed. We took the seed
      and set it by the side of the jar and wedged it into place with paper
      towels. The paper was soaked with water and then we put the seed in a
      warm place. After some days, the seed began to sprout and as long as it
      was watered that sprout continued to grow and we could see the stalk
      coming up and the rootlets developing and the stalk would grow above the
      top of the jar and put out leaves, but as soon as the experiment was
      over and we stopped watering the seed, it had no resources left and
      began to wither and die in the heat of the sun. So also with the Gospel
      that falls in the heart and begins to sprout. We see that it is a
      beautiful plant and it begins to grow - but the moment it makes demands,
      the moment the Gospel begins to try to put down roots in the heart and
      to make changes and to influence the life - we turn away from it,
      preventing the roots from taking hold and there is no longer any
      nourishment and the plant withers and dies. It is not enough just to
      hear the word of God or to recognize it and attend to it - but if it
      will be profitable, we must also allow it to put roots into our lives -
      to affect our way of life, to change our attitudes, our priorities, our
      thinking, our wants and desires. If we hold the Gospel at arms length
      and keep it in its own little jar separate from the rest of our life,
      then it will have no affect and eventually will wither and die from
      neglect as our attention is torn away by temptations, difficulties, and
      the demands of our worldly passions and desires and other “more
      important” matters.

      But even if the word of God finds a place in our heart and begins to
      take root and grow and to have an effect on us, there is still the
      danger that it will end up like the seed that grew among weeds. Such a
      plant is stunted in its growth by all the competition and the weeds are
      much better at grabbing all the best nutrients and water and sunshine so
      that there is very little left for the good plant. These plants, because
      they have to compete with the weeds don’t grow well, and are under such
      stress that they often aren’t able to develop any flower or fruit and so
      even if they survive are barren and bring no benefit or profit. These
      weeds are the cares of life that demand our time, our attention our
      energy on a moment to moment basis. And like weeds, these cares grow and
      multiply overnight. Where today there is one care, tomorrow there will
      be a dozen and by the end of the week, you won’t be able to find
      anything but a bunch of weeds where there was once a bed of flowers. How
      often our best spiritual intentions are crowded out and drowned in a sea
      of worldly cares. We resolve to pray, just a little each day in the
      morning and in the evening - and then we get up late, or have an early
      meeting and the morning prayers go unsaid in the rush to get ready and
      out the door and on to the day’s business. Then in the evening one thing
      piles on another, chores to do, bills to pay, tv to watch, dishes to
      wash and whatever else and then by the end of the evening we are so
      tired that we only mumble a few words of prayer as the head hits the
      pillow and the eyes close. And so the cares of the world have stolen all
      of our time, our energy, our effort and nothing was left for the
      important task of this life - our spiritual growth and development and
      preparation for the world to come.

      It is only on the good soil, the soul that is open and attentive to the
      word of God, from which the stones that prevent the seed from implanting
      its roots and in which the weeds of worldly cares are pulled as soon as
      they show up so that the seed of the Gospel has ample time and energy
      and attention to grow, that the Gospel has its intended effect and
      begins to transform the person into the likeness of God. It is this
      seed, in this good soil that sprouts, grows and bears fruit which is in
      fact the grace of God by which we are saved.

      Into each heart and life, the seeds of the Gospel fall - for each heart
      has the potential to allow them to grow and bring forth fruit. It is not
      by our effort, by our ability, by our skill that these seeds grow - that
      is their nature, they will sprout and grow given the chance. It is not
      by our worthiness or cleverness that the sun and the rain fall on these
      seeds or that there are nutrients in the soil, God will provide all of
      this. The only thing that is necessary is that we prepare the soil of
      our soul to receive the seed of the Gospel, that we might be attentive
      to it and capture it as often as it appears in our life. And we must
      remove all the barriers of pride and self will that prevent it from
      implanting in our heart and then keep our lives free of the weeds of
      worldly care that choke out the Gospel as it grows so that our souls
      might prove to be fertile fields, covered with the beautiful flowers of
      the Godly virtues bearing an abundant harvest of grace by which we are
      transformed into the image and likeness of God.

      Brothers and sisters, let us embrace the word of God, let us lay aside
      our pride and self will, taking on instead humility and the will of God
      and let us lay aside all earthly cares giving all our time and energy
      and resources to living the life of Christ that we might live with Him
      in His Kingdom for all eternity.

      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
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